With racial polarization at astounding heights and frustrated Americans taking to the streets, now is the time for Californians to stand up and address historical and systemic racial, ethnic and gender inequalities. Hundreds of APIA organizations and key elected leaders have joined the broad coalition to support ACA 5. However, a vocal but small minority of APIA are actively mobilizing against affirmative action spreading misinformation and polarizing the issue.
“We felt there was an urgent need to help dispel the misinformation around support for ACA 5 and put out information which helps our community, particularly more recent Chinese-speaking immigrants, better understand the facts surrounding affirmative action,” said Yen Marshall, APAPA National Executive Director.
The controversy within the APIA community is being fueled by activists who are inaccurate in their assumptions that affirmative action hurts our community. Affirmative action helps to level the playing field and attempts to provide equal opportunity in the face of discrimination and institutional and systemic racism.
We feel a great responsibility to put the truth out about affirmative action because so many in the APIA community were being misled. Our APIA community must take a holistic approach and support good policies based on facts and the overall good.
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Myths vs. Facts (Mandarin Chinese 中文)
Affirmative Action will establish unfair quotas based on race in college admissions, limiting opportunities for APIA students, such as limiting Asian students to 15% as reflected by the California AAPI population.
- Facts: Quotas are no longer legal. The Supreme Court found quotas unconstitutional in 1978 (Regents of the University of California v. Bakke).
- An internal APAPA analysis of undergraduate admissions (under policies intended to increase underrepresented minority enrollment in a similar manner as policies used in 1996) finds that the size of the available admission pool for all others would be reduced by 1.5%. Asian admits would only be reduced by 1%.”
Strategies to improve campus diversity should only focus on socioeconomic status rather than race.
- Facts: The state has made significant investments in race-neutral policies that have failed to level the playing field and facilitate equitable opportunities to all Californians.
Enrollment rates of underrepresented students of color at the UCs have improved since Prop 209 passed, so repealing this law is unnecessary.
- Facts: While enrollment rates have increased, Latinx and Black students are still woefully underrepresented.
Admissions and graduation rates for underrepresented students of color have improved, so ACA 5 isn’t necessary.
- Facts: Despite improvements in admission and graduation rates, equity gaps negatively affecting Black and Latinx students remain.
Affirmative Action discriminates against Asian American students.
- Facts: If ACA 5 passes, it merely allows universities to take race and gender into account as one of several factors in recruitment and admissions.
Admissions should be based solely on merit, i.e., GPA and test scores.
- Facts: GPA and test scores don’t accurately reflect an applicant’s ability. These measures are commonly considered an objective reflection of innate “smarts” or ability. Unfortunately, a student’s GPA and test scores are also influenced by policies and practices that limit a student’s academic competitiveness, disproportionately impacting Black and Latinx students.
Only students of color receive an advantage from affirmative action in college admissions.
- Facts: In California, privileged students benefit from affirmative action. Legacy admissions—giving preference to relatives of alumni—is a common form of affirmative action. Repealing Prop 209 would allow California’s institutions to address inequities, not reinforce them as legacy admissions do.
State leaders should focus on COVID-19 recovery, not ACA 5.
- Facts: Repealing Prop 209 will help to mitigate the disproportionate harm experienced by communities of color during the pandemic. People of color have borne the brunt of both the economic and public health effects of COVID-19.